In Memory of Dr. Patrick Odell


Dr. Patrick L. Odell passed away on May 23, 2020 in Waco, TX. He was 89 years old. His family was at his bedside when he passed.

Patrick was born in Watonga, Oklahoma on November 29, 1930 in the same house his mother and older sister were born. He is the oldest son of Max V. Odell and Pamela A. (Massey) Odell who were born in Oklahoma prior to statehood. Patrick graduated from Watonga High School in 1948 and was the Valedictorian. He attended Oklahoma City University (OCU), 1948-49; the University of Texas at Austin (UT), 1948-52; University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) 1957-58; the University of New Mexico (UNM), 1958-60; and Oklahoma State University (OSU) 1958-62. He earned a Doctorate in Mathematical Sciences while at OSU.

In 1952, Patrick worked for the US Army at the White Sands Proving Grounds. In 1963, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force and became a meteorologist. He served three years, two as a meteorologist and one assigned to US Army Intelligence in Europe. He earned the rank of Captain before leaving the Air Force.

In 1958 he joined the Kaman Nuclear Research group and Navy Nuclear Weapons Evaluation Facility in New Mexico where he evaluated methods for testing nuclear weapons. In 1962 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University if Texas at Austin. During his time at UT, he conducted mathematical research for NASA Johnson Space Center. In 1966, he became Chair of the Mathematics Department at Texas Tech University. In 1972, he became he became a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and served as the first Dean of Graduate Studies. In 1988 he retired from UTD and joined the faculty at Baylor University. He retired from Baylor in 2001.

In 1958, he married Norma Lou Maddox from Ponca City, OK. She died in 1980. The marriage resulted in six children, James Odell, Killeen, TX; David Odell (1959-2018), Plano, TX; Michael Odell, Dallas, TX; , Julie Odell, College Station, TX; Patricia (Odell) Kimray; Virginia Beach, VA; and Deborah (Odell) Johnson, Tyler, TX. In 1985, he married fellow mathematician Dovalee Dorsett who died in 2019. She brought two additional children to the family, Kathy (McElroy) Meir, Bothell, WA; and Tracy McElroy (Georgetown, TX). Currently there are 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Professionally Patrick is best known as a mathematical statistician who promoted graduate education in the mathematical sciences. His research includes applied mathematics in space science, engineering, and mathematics education. He worked on various research projects for the military, NSF, NASA, the State of Texas and other parties.

Graveside memorial services for Dr. Patrick Odell will be held Saturday July 18th, 2020 at 10:30 A.M. at I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Watonga, OK with Wilkinson Mortuary of Watonga in charge of arrangements.

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